The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued this statement regarding operations the Honeywell Metropolis facility:
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is closely monitoring operations at the Honeywell International, Inc., uranium conversion facility in Metropolis, Ill., where negotiations have failed to produce a new union contract. The plant is currently being operated in a reduced status with salaried company employees and temporary workers.
NRC inspectors have been at the site for three weeks, evaluating Honeywell's strike contingency plan and observing the training of all temporary workers. The inspectors are currently at the plant to monitor operations, ensure the plant is being operated safely and confirm that replacement personnel are adequately trained in both conversion processes as well as the associated emergency response procedures specific to the Honeywell plant.
Plant security personnel are unaffected by the current contract negotiations and remain on duty. NRC personnel will ensure that Honeywell continues to maintain adequate security. NRC inspectors will focus on a number of key areas, confirming Honeywell plant management maintains proper oversight of operations and maintenance as well as chemical safety and radiation protection. NRC inspectors will also ensure that any overtime worked by replacement workers is within the facility's guidelines.
NRC officials have sought assurances that support from state and local agencies is adequate to maintain workers' unimpeded access to the plant. The agency is also working with those agencies to make certain there continues to be adequate security to ensure unencumbered delivery of support goods, availability of emergency services as needed, as well as safe and secure shipment of radioactive materials.
The plant converts uranium yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) suitable for later enrichment as fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.